privacy

18 posts
Protecting your mobile data and privacy while at a protest

Maddy Varner reporting for The Markup: “All protesting and all marches are a series of balancing acts of different priorities and acceptable risks,” said Mason Donahue, a member of Lucy Parsons Labs, a Chicago-based group of technologists and activists that run digital security training classes and have investigated the Chicago Police Department’s use of surveillance technology. “There is a lot of communication ability that goes away if you don’t bring...

0 0
Privacy algorithm could lead to Census undercount of small towns

To increase anonymity in the Census records, the bureau is testing an algorithm that removes real people and inserts imaginary people in various locations. As you can imagine, this carries a set of challenges. Gus Wezerek and David Van Riper for New York Times Opinion ask what effects this could have on small towns. Tags: census, counting, New York Times, privacy

0 0
To get your personal data, provide more personal data

File another one under the sounds-good-on-paper-but-really-challenging-in-practice. Kashmir Hill, for The New York Times, describes the challenges of new laws that allow users to request the data that companies collect on them: Since then, two groups of researchers have demonstrated that it’s possible to fool the systems created to comply with G.D.P.R. to get someone else’s personal information. One of the researchers, James Pavur, 24, a doctoral student at Oxford University,...

0 0
One leaked file, the location of 12 million smartphones

A file leaked to The New York Times contained location traces of 12 million unique smartphones. Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel went digging: The data set is large enough that it surely points to scandal and crime but our purpose wasn’t to dig up dirt. We wanted to document the risk of underregulated surveillance. Watching dots move across a map sometimes revealed hints of faltering marriages, evidence of drug...

0 0
Amazon stores voice recordings indefinitely

Alfred Ng for CNET: Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in May, demanding answers on Alexa and how long it kept voice recordings and transcripts, as well as what the data gets used for. The letter came after CNET’s report that Amazon kept transcripts of interactions with Alexa, even after people deleted the voice recordings. The deadline for answers was June...

0 0
Readability of privacy policies for big tech companies

For The New York Times, Kevin Litman-Navarro plotted the length and readability of privacy policies for large companies: To see exactly how inscrutable they have become, I analyzed the length and readability of privacy policies from nearly 150 popular websites and apps. Facebook’s privacy policy, for example, takes around 18 minutes to read in its entirety – slightly above average for the policies I tested. The comparison is between websites...

0 0
Facial recognition machine for $60

For The New York Times, Sahil Chinoy on privacy and how easy it is now to automate surveillance through public video feeds: To demonstrate how easy it is to track people without their knowledge, we collected public images of people who worked near Bryant Park (available on their employers’ websites, for the most part) and ran one day of footage through Amazon’s commercial facial recognition service. Our system detected 2,750...

0 0
Build a parasite to block your digital assistant

Digital assistants offer convenience, but they also offer continuous surveillance, and it’s not always clear when the tech is listening. Alias by Bjørn Karmann is a device you put on top of the assistant the block any unwanted listening: Alias acts as a middle-man device that is designed to appropriate any voice activated device. Equipped with speakers and a microphone, Alias is able to communicate and manipulate the home assistant...

0 0
Apps gather your location and then sell the data

The New York Times takes a closer look at the data that apps collect and what they know about you: At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The Times found. Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the United States — about half those in...

0 0
Reduced privacy risk in exchange for accuracy in the Census count

Mark Hansen for The Upshot describes the search for balance between individual privacy and an accurate 2020 Census count. It turns out to not be that difficult to reconstruct person-level data from publicly available aggregates: On the face of it, finding a reconstruction that satisfies all of the constraints from all the tables the bureau produces seems impossible. But Mr. Abowd says the problem gets easier when you notice that...

0 0